Some of us have had the experience of seeing a movie adapted from a popular novel, that you have read and loved. It’s a precarious task that hauls open the floodgates to avid readers nit-picking minute details that cut from or changed for the big screen version, “no, no, no … he was wearing BLACK jeans, not blue!” I have been guilty of this myself.
The screen adaption of the first book in the popular series of young adult fiction by Cassandra Clare, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the latest in the firing line but fortunately for me, I haven’t read the series so I came with fresh eyes.
Brooklyn teenager Clary Fray (Lily Collins) and her best friend Simon Lewis (Robert Sheehan) are unwillingly brought into a world of chaos, leading to the disappearance of Fray’s mother and the witness of a bizarre murder in a city nightclub. The hooded assassin is Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower), a ‘Shadowhunter’ that only Fray can see, and is a descendant of human hybrids augmented with the blood of angels to protect the world from the knurliest creatures of our nightmares. What follows is a rollicking fantasy adventure as Fray, Lewis, and Wayland race the clock to save the world from the menacing Valentine Morgenstern (Jonathan Rhys Meyers).
As numerous critics around the world have already painfully pointed out, the movie is rife with countless fantasy clichés, predictable romantic twists, and borrows magical elements from other films. That doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the film however and, if you forget that you may have seen certain elements previously, the fantastical elements are a lot of fun.
There are a ridiculously large amount of gaping plot twists that are left unanswered, but that is to be expected in book adaptations with a series of five (soon to be six) novels. The CGI for the demonic beasts is fairly impressive, and there is an overall dark theme that isn’t squandered too much for younger audiences.
If you can avoid chaining yourself down with endless comparisons between the book and film (or other films), you’ll have a romping enjoyable experience with The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones despite it being the same old formula with new names and fresh faces.
Reviewed by Nathan Giaccio
Rating out of 10: 7